Goliath Strikes Back: Friesen Denies Hurlburt Devil’s Bowl Upset STSS Victory

Written by Chris Moore

WEST HAVEN, VT – Goliath strikes back.

In an event that appeared primed for another upset, Stewart Friesen emerged victorious on Sunday night with another Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco triumph.

Friesen charted his path toward the front from the 15th starting position, taking the lead away on a lap-31 restart and never relinquished it for the $10,250 ‘Slate Valley 50’ victory at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway.

The win in Round No. 4 of the River Valley Builders North Region extends Friesen’s record as the all-time winningest STSS driver, with career win No. 38. Friesen also claimed an extra $250 as the BDR Speed Hard Charger of the race.

“I thought being out of the redraw was going to be the kiss of death,” proclaimed an ecstatic Friesen in Bicknell Racing Products Victory Lane. “We just little by little picked our way forward and some guys had some bad luck, and we didn’t.

“J.R. (Hurlburt) ran a great race and he was fast all night,” said Friesen of his late race competition. “I was just able to get to the top… he gave me just enough room.”

With Friesen going from the 15th starting position, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia’s Peter Britten and Guilderland, N.Y.’s Marc Johnson occupied the front row following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw.

While Johnson would quickly retire from the race due to a mechanical failure, Britten would set the pace with J.R. Hurlburt in tow.

Cautions plagued the early part of the race, including a broken driveshaft on the North Region points leader Mat Williamson on the eighth circuit, ending his night prematurely.

Six laps later, Britten would suffer misfortune as well, with suspension damage sending him to pits and forfeiting the lead to Hurlburt.

When racing resumed with still 36 laps to go, Hurlburt led Steve Bernier, Matt Sheppard, Adam Pierson, and a hard charging Ajay Potrzebowski II.

On the restart, Sheppard quickly worked his way to the runner-up spot, while Potrzebowski followed him through into the final podium position.

Sheppard would pressure Hurlburt for the next 10 laps, including two restarts, before the pair made contact racing down the home straightaway. The contact between them caused a flat right-front tire for Sheppard’s No. 9s.

Sheppard would restart at the tail of the lead, allowing two drivers looking for their first career STSS victory to occupy the front with less than half the race remaining.

The battle between the two was short lived however, as Potrzebowski got a flat left-rear tire just two laps after the restart, forcing him to restart at the tail, as did Sheppard.

With Potrzebowski, and Anthony Perrego falling out of the top five under the same yellow, Hurlburt led the way, but Friesen had suddenly risen into the fourth spot.

Friesen seized his opportunity to go for the win. The Sprakers, N.Y., native quickly worked to second, setting himself up for his chance on the lap-31 restart.

Friesen took top spot away and never looked back for his $10,000 victory, one he and the crew would be sure to celebrate later.

“It’s awesome to win on Father’s Day, me and my Dad (Jamie) haven’t gotten to race together in a long time,” smiled Friesen. “To the guys in Carolina with the truck team, we probably won’t make the 7 a.m. zoom meeting… we’re gonna celebrate this one tonight.”

Hurlburt brought Jamie and Denise Page’s Algonkin Motel No. 6H home with its best-ever STSS finish in the runner-up spot.

“It’s a tough bunch of guys that race with the STSS,” exclaimed Hurlburt. “I’m happy to be in the redraw… I’m real happy to be standing here on the frontstretch.”

Steve Bernier, of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada rounded out the podium for his best STSS finish as well.

“It was a tacky track tonight,” spoke the French Canadian in his second language. “It was tough with the W-16 engine down the straightaways.”

Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard rebounded from the flat tire for a fourth-place finish, regaining the North Region point lead following Williamson’s misfortune.

Elmira, N.Y.’s Ajay Potrzebowski, like Sheppard, rebounded from his flat tire as well to round out the top five, an impressive night from the teenage racer.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Queensbury, N.Y.’s Demetrios Drellos who brought home another top ten at the track closest to home; Ransomville, N.Y.’s Erick Rudolph who started alongside Friesen in 16th; Orford, N.H.’s Tanner Siemons, who came from the consolation race to finish eighth; St. Hyacinthe, Quebec’s Francois Bernier and Bohemia, N.Y.’s Dillon Steuer rounded out the top ten, both of whom advanced 11 starting positions throughout the 50-lap affair.

Heat winners, receiving $50 each from FloRacing, were Mike Mahaney, Steve Bernier, Perrego, and Drellos.

Dillon Steuer won the lone consolation race.

Thirty-one STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in to compete in the ‘Slate Valley 50.’

Next up for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco is the first of two trips to Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway for the ‘Firecracker 50’ on Sunday, July 2. The STSS Modifieds race in Round No. 5 of the River Valley Builders North Region for 50-laps and a $10,000 payday. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman join the program for Round No. 3 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region for a 25-lap, $2,000-to-win feature.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.

The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, FloSports, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Rent Equip/Party Central, BDR Speed, Bicknell Racing Products, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Wegner Automotive, River Valley Builders, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, DIG Race Products, Velocita-USA, Franklin Products, Design for Vision & Sunglass Central, Belmont’s Garage, Quality Drywall, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Prime MAC Tools, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel, Beyea Custom Headers, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH, Electric Neon Custom Signs, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Spyder Filters, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO & Wilwood.


‘Slate Valley 50’ Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco River Valley Builders North Region Round No. 4 Feature Finish (50 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, J.R. Hurlburt, Steve Bernier, Matt Sheppard, Ajay Potrzebowski, Demetrios Drellos, Erick Rudolph, Tanner Siemons, Francois Bernier, Dillon Steuer, Peter Britten, Adam Pierson, Brian Calabrese, Corey Cormier, Chris Curtis, Mike Mahaney, Bobby Hackel, Andy Bachetti, Anthony Perrego, Mat Williamson, Tim Fuller, Shawn McPhee, Marc Johnson, Dave Camara, Neil Stratton, David Schilling

Did Not Qualify: Randy Green, Robert Bublak, Rocky Warner, Daniel Morgiewicz, Jr., Tanner Van Doren

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Tanner Siemons (8th) & Chris Curtis (15th)
BDR Speed Hard Charger Bonus ($250): Stewart Friesen (15th to first)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Matt Sheppard (fourth) & Francois Bernier (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Anthony Perrego (Redrew 12th)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Demetrios Drellos (sixth)
FloRacing Heat Race Winner ($50):
 Mike Mahaney, Steve Bernier, Anthony Perrego, Demetrios Drellos                                                                                                
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Peter Britten (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Stewart Friesen (first – $150 certificate); J.R. Hurlburt (second – $75 certificate); Steve Bernier (third – $50 certificate); Dillon Steuer (10th – $25 certificate)                                                                     
Shultz Fuel Cells Bonus ($100 Certificate): Dillon Steuer (10th)                            
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): J.R. Hurlburt
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Erick Rudolph (seventh)